Bordered by Crown Hill/NW 85th Street to the north, Puget Sound to the west Greenwood/Phinney Ridge/Fremont/8th Ave NW to the east and on the south by the Ship Canal it is sometimes difficult to know where Ballard proper ends.
The neighborhood’s landmarks include the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks (known locally as the "Ballard Locks"), the Nordic Heritage Museum, the Shilshole Bay Marina, and Golden Gardens Park.
Ballard can be divided into three sections. South of Market Street and along the canal serves a cluster of manufacturing and industrial facilities. Development and construction of townhomes are slowly chipping away at this area and offer a new wave of homes close to the newly arrived nanobreweries and restaurants.
The area to the west of the Market Street & 15th Avenue has seen a large influx of condo and apartment construction. These new buildings have brought retail stores and restaraunts which blend well with the decidely old world and unchanged retail core on Market Street.
To the north of Market Street spans the bulk of the single family residences which attract many young families due to the smaller and more affordable homes with yards, excellent public schools and abundance of public parks and ball fields. Three waves of construction (one in the early 1910s and a second in the 1930s) give the neighborhood its charm although recently many delapitated homes have been replaced with clusters of townhomes and modern boxes.
Standout eateries include Volterra, Bastille, Ballard Station, Skillet, Veraci Pizza, Delancey, and Señor Moose serve as personal favorites. Nightlife is plentiful with live music hosted by Kiss Cafe, La Isla, Molly Maguire's, Old Pequliar, Sunset Tavern, The Stepping Stone, and The Tractor Tavern. Each month the Ballard Chamber of Commerce sponsors the Second Saturday Artwalk. Downtown Ballard also boasts a variety of restaurants and local shops, a Sunday farmer's market, and is home to the art deco Majestic Bay Theater, which was the oldest operating movie theater on the West Coast prior to its closure in 1997. In 1998 it was renovated and transformed from a bargain single-screen theater to a well-appointed triplex.